Tips on getting started in agency land from one of our newest recruits.
As a recent fully-fledged team member, now feels like a good time to reflect on how I kick-started my creative career and share some of the things I’ve learnt along the way - and wow how I’ve learnt a lot!
I studied Graphic Design at university where hours spent designing in the studio with permission to make mistakes gave me the time and freedom to develop my creative skillset and style.
However, university can only teach you so much before it churns you out the other end.
So, I left Winchester School of Art with a first-class degree and, like lots of recent graduates, an overwhelming feeling of ‘WTF do I do now?’
Here are some tips for others trying to get their break in the creative industries.
Persistence is key
My lack of relevant industry experience felt like a huge set-back when I began looking for creative work, which meant I had to heavily rely on my portfolio and determination if I was to get my foot in the door.
It’s so easy to become disheartened by how few responses you get back but, as clichéd as it sounds, persistence is key.
It took me a year after graduating, a job in retail and many, many emails before the right opportunity came along.
Take the personal touch
This might sound obvious, but it most definitely pays to do your research into both the company you are applying for and the people you’ll be working with. Companies really appreciate a tailored application.
It’s also worth contacting companies who aren’t actively advertising a job vacancy as it shows that you are genuinely interested in them and haven’t just landed on their site via industry job pages.
I found that the most positive responses I received came from individuals I had messaged directly. They put me in touch with local practitioners from whom I gained a lot of valuable insight and feedback.
Remember that LinkedIn is your best friend and building a personal network is invaluable – it was by building and reaching out to my LinkedIn connections that I found my role here at true.
Be prepared to get stuck in
I joined first as an intern and now, as junior designer, it’s safe to say I’ve enjoyed being thrown in at the deep end.
You soon realise how steep the learning curve is between study and full-time employment once you’re experiencing it first-hand.
Working in digital marketing means I’m constantly learning new skills and techniques and my understanding of design beyond purely aesthetics has really grown.
The variation of projects you get to work on in an agency keeps things interesting, although be prepared to create a few PowerPoint presentations along the way!
A note I’d like to end on, and something I consider one of the most important factors throughout all of this, is to just be yourself.
If you are genuinely excited and passionate about something, it will naturally shine through and people will pick up on it.
Employers want to get a sense of who you are and what you will bring to the team, so be yourself – it’s what makes you great, and ultimately, more employable.